Why books are better than sports

Fortunately, I found a beach towel in the trunk of my car.  I wrapped it around myself and sat on the top row of the bleachers, thankful for the seat cushion I splurged on at the Puyallup Fair a few years ago.

My boy’s team had a lacrosse game against their rivals, a team they’d lost to awhile back.  Time for revenge.

The first quarter, the other team scored a lot.

My boy didn’t play at all.

The second quarter, our team scored some, but we were still behind.

My boy played one play.

The third quarter, the score got closer.

My boy didn’t play.

The fourth quarter came and went and our team lost.  I think the score was 11-9, but they turned off the scoreboard so fast I didn’t get a chance to double-check.

But I do know this.  My boy didn’t play during the fourth quarter, either.  He was put into the game for maybe a total of two minutes.

I texted my husband and kept him apprised of the scored.  I also mentioned that I thought it was rotten that my boy didn’t get to play much at all.

My husband explained about upperclassmen and sophomores and fairness and said our boy would learn from this and that he’d understand.  But I didn’t understand myself.  Not really.

As we walked toward the car in the dark parking lot, my boy didn’t seem very understanding.  In fact, he did a rather unflattering (but amusing) imitation of one of the coaches.

It just seems to me that if you go to every practice and work hard and sacrifice four nights during the week and one day every weekend that you should get to play in the actual game.  (My boy actually scored two goals in each of the last two games, too, so it’s not unreasonable, in my mind.)   I kept these thoughts mostly to myself, of course.  But still.

I guess I’m not much of a team player.  I don’t really care that much about the team.  I care about my boy and watching him stand on the sideline clutching his lacrosse stick, dressed in his cleats and helmet and pads and not playing–along with thirteen other boys–frustrated and pained me.   It probably bugged me more than my boy but it looked to me like exclusion and rejection and injustice.  (And maybe I’m over-thinking and over-feeling and over-analyzing this.)

But you have to admit, my friends, that this is a perfect illustration of why books are better than sports.

(Well, that might be a faulty conclusion, but has a book ever overlooked a kid?  I think not.)

 

 

 

Spring Break, Part Two

On Monday, we woke up early and tried to get to Disneyland before everyone else.  It’s Spring Break, after all.

We spent twelve hours traipsing back and forth across the park, standing in some lines, outsmarting other lines by using FastPasses.  We wondered why our favorite rides were closed and skipped the parades entirely and ate and shopped and paddled a canoe around the River.

And we found the Springtime Round-up where a variety of Disney rabbits were posing for pictures.  Grace normally hates having her picture taken with costumed characters–a funny and stubborn quirk she’s had since she was two years old–but for some reason, she jumped at the chance to have her picture taken with Rabbit (of Winnie-the-Pooh fame).

The other highlight of the trip was a ride on Splash Mountain.  She’s ridden it only once before and found it too scary to ride again, but for whatever reason, she decided it was time to ride it again.

Now, we have a few more days of Spring Break.  Then I begin the countdown until the end of the school year.

Spring Break, Part One

Tomorrow, my 16-year old’s Spring Break begins.  This is a glorious time of year in which I don’t have to make a school lunch before I crawl into bed.  I don’t have to spend 45 minutes each afternoon retrieving him from school.  I don’t have to make sure his favorite shirts are ready to wear each morning.

However.

Tomorrow, my 11-year old is still in school, her charter school which requires her to do her coursework at home.   So I will be doing my best to push her along, to prod her to do her best.  I will insist that she does every subject even though she’ll try to bargain and convince me to let her do two histories tomorrow instead of one today and one tomorrow.  I will try to be the Voice of Reason and the one who doesn’t let her off the hook even though I’d like to just play hooky pretty much all the time.  (Don’t tell.)

In another week, my son will be back at school and my daughter’s Spring Break will begin.  And I personally will be counting down the days to summer, that fantastic time of year where our schedule is less structured and we can breathe without considering how to solve a quadractic equation and there will be absolutely no sentence diagramming.

 

Miscellany

I borrowed this idea from Carmen at Mom to the Screaming Masses.

What is the last thing you watched on TV?   Revolution on NBC.  I’m barely following the plot but it keeps me company while I’m working.  (It’s on right now: gun shots and fire and conspiracies and betrayal, etc.)

When did you last step outside? What were you doing?  I dropped off my son at lacrosse practice, then stopped by Albertson’s to buy a few things which turned into $111.00 worth of things.  I carried in about a dozen bags of groceries and a small case of water bottles in two trips.  I am Woman, hear me roar.

What is on the walls of the room you are in?  A poster that says “KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON” and a couple of photographs I took at Long Beach, Washington.  One shows a woman riding a bike while walking a horse on the beach at sunset.

If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy?  Houses for all the people I love.  Cars for all the people I love.  A vacation home in Tahiti.  A fancy new 15-speed bicycle.

Tell me something about you that most people don’t know.  I became a amateur radio operator (aka “ham radio operator”) when I was thirteen years old.  I rode my bicycle from Marysville, Washington, to San Francisco, California, on a 12-speed bicycle when I was fourteen.  Mt. St. Helen’s erupted when I was fifteen.

Who made the last incoming call on your phone? My husband, calling to ask me if everything was okay because our daughter had called him (while he was at a meeting) to ask him where I was (Albertson’s!).  She had called me right after she called him.

What was the last book you read?  I just finished Insurgent by Veronica Roth.  Now I’m reading Anne Lamott’s Some Assembly Required.

If you could change something about your home, without worry about expense or mess, what would you do?  I’d make the laundry room a LOT bigger.

What was the last thing you bought?  Groceries at Albertson’s.

If you could eat lunch with one famous person, who would it be?  Someone creative and funny . . . not sure.

Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?   Lowe’s or Home Depot.

Is the glass half empty or half full?   Half empty.  Or spilled entirely.

Name something that took you by surprise.  My entire life.

Name one TV show you will watch every time it’s on – Judge Judy.  I just became obsessed by her.

Name a movie you will watch no matter how many times you’ve seen it.   When Harry Met Sally.

What’s the farthest-away place you’ve been?   Tahiti.

What’s under your bed?  Nothing but Roy the Paranoid Cat (not pictured above).

What is your favorite time of the day?  Dusk, that magical hour before dark.

What Inspires You?   Books.  Creative people.  Great movies.  Solitude.

Now it’s your turn.  Pick a question and answer . . . here or on your blog.  Or don’t.  Whatever.  I’m not bossy.  (Ha.  I am bossy.)

If you have nothing to say, should you say it?

(This photo was from a few weeks ago when we spent a few hours at Disneyland and California Adventure.  Pretty snazzy outfit, huh?)

You’ll be relieved to know that the camouflage baby-wearing guy hasn’t appeared again.  So, no need to worry about me.

Every night when I finish working, I briefly consider blogging but usually shut down my computer instead in hopes of getting enough sleep.  But it doesn’t happen.  I don’t get enough sleep.  Even on Saturdays I have to get up relatively early to drive my son to work since my husband has other obligations.

But here I am tonight.

Well, my body is here.  My mind has wandered away already, eager to crawl into bed.

I have considered the following topics just now and erased every word:

  • Weather
  • My kid’s activities
  • Driving everyone around
  • The dog and her clean fur

Clearly, none of this would be interested to read–or write about–so I am going to just give up.

Tomorrow’s another day, although technically tomorrow has already arrived and tomorrow is today.

 

 

Who’s that knocking at my door?

I hadn’t taken a shower and I was dressed like a toddler in mismatched hot pink pajama pants and old ratty Seattle Mariners t-shirt.

Lola the Dog started barking at the front door.  I assumed a package had been delivered but I didn’t see one through the narrow window by the front door.

I peered through the window and to my shock, saw a man dressed in camouflage facing my front door.  A baby was strapped onto his chest in a Baby Bjorn.  I could not even process this.  A shaggy, camouflaged man?  With a baby on his chest?

I know better than to open my front door to a stranger, but this was a baby-wearing stranger, so I grabbed onto my barking dog and opened the door a little.

The man yelled, “I want my wagon back!”  He could not have said anything weirder.

I don’t know if I just blinked or said, “what?”  But in spurts, he shouted the story to me.

Here is the summary of the story he told.

1)  He left his red wagon on the sidewalk down the street right outside the trail.

2)  While he was on the trail, a man and woman in a red car drove by.  They seemed to be arguing.  The woman got out and grabbed the red wagon and put it in their red car.

3)  Someone saw this happen, so they went up through the neighborhood to track the red car.  They determined that the red car was parked in my driveway and therefore, that I was guilty of theft.

4)  When the camouflaged, baby-wearing guy emerged from the trail, the eyewitnesses described the crime and told him my house number and so he marched up the street to demand that I return his stolen red wagon.

The problem, of course, is that I didn’t have his wagon.  I was asleep when the theft occurred.  My husband had been at work for hours.  I wondered why I opened my front door to this complete stranger who was furious with me.  (It’s enough to have people I know in real life to be annoyed with me, but to have a complete stranger angry with me?  No, thanks.)

I ticked off the reasons I could not be the culprit.  Finally, I told him that I’d be happy to let him look around my garage and back yard if he wanted to call the police and have them come by.  “I’m really sorry,” I said, “But I can’t let you in because I don’t know you.”

The miracle of all is that this scary, yelling guy eventually believed me and walked backwards from my door, reluctantly accepting my insistence that I didn’t have his wagon.

After he left, I locked my front door.  Honestly, I was a little scared he’d come back with a crowbar or blow-torch or a baseball bat with which he’d break my kneecaps.  I have never been so grateful to have a very loud, big dog.

I hope that guy finds his wagon.

And I hope those eyewitnesses get some new glasses.

Happy birthday, Grandma

Today would have been my grandmother’s 108th birthday.

She’s been in heaven almost six years.

We miss her.

Slip sliding away

Spring in days pastI just wrote half a post about the weather.

Someone needs to save me from myself.  (I saved you from me.)

Here’s the summary:  We people in San Diego are weather wimps.  When it’s cloudy for four days in a row–maybe five–we get a little twitchy.  “Where is the sun?” we cry as we scan the sky.  When it’s down to fifty-five degrees, women don puffy coats and gloves and knit hats and boots and scarves.

(Not me.  But them.  Some of them.)  I know this is nuts because I know what type of weather so many of you around the country have been enduring.

I’m starting the countdown to summer, mostly because I am so completely over supervising school at home.  Ten years, people.  TEN YEARS.  A decade.  A tenth of a century.  I just want to sit in a beach chair and read under a beach umbrella.

I don’t want to hear about the War of 1812 or the probability of picking a purple sock out of the dryer if there are ten socks and seven are purple and two are yellow and one is green.  I don’t want to discuss Don Quixote or explain why it takes more than one draft to get a Final Draft right.  I don’t want to give a spelling test or ponder past participles.

Tomorrow we are going on a field trip to Sea World.  (No, I haven’t seen “Blackfish” and I don’t think I want to . . . but I am familiar with the controversy and I’m conflicted but on the other hand, when we go on field trips, we get the day “off” from schoolwork so you can bet your bottom dollar we are going to Sea World.)  We are scheming–my 11-year old and me–about ditching Sea World and driving up the freeway to Disneyland (we have annual passes).   My daughter makes a fairly good argument for doing so.

We’ll see.

The thing is, I am acutely aware of how fast she is growing up . . . how fast these years are passing.  You know when you’re driving down the freeway and you don’t think you’re going all that fast until you look down at the speedometer and see that you’re somehow driving 85 mph?  If you look out the  side window, the scenery flashes by so fast you can’t even really focus, but looking straight ahead, you’d swear you are driving under the speed limit?

(Maybe that’s just me.)

I just know that we are going much, much faster through this life than we realize.  And why not drive to Disneyland for the afternoon if you can while your 11-year old still thinks it’s fun to hang out with you?

 

 

7 Reasons I Hate Twitter

When I heard about Twitter some years back, I thought it sounded perfect.  I am, after all, a voyeur at heart and love to know what other people are doing.

Eavesdropping is an awesome past-time, if you ask me.

What’s not to love, then about Twitter, that space on the Internet where everyone tells you what they are doing or thinking in 140 characters or less?

Here are seven reasons not to love Twitter.  In other words, Twitter, let me count the ways I hate you:

1)  I hate the way people promote their projects or sites by putting in links to other sites.  I’m sick of clicking.  I’m sick of your ads and self-promotion.

2)  I hate dumb abbreviations.  “U” is not “you”.  I dnt care wut u say.  (See?  I hate that.)

3)  I hate seeing half of a conversation between people who don’t seem to realize that their personal conversations are boring.  So, when  someone says, “thanks, so-and-so, I do, too!” I hate it.  Use a text message.  Send each other an email or a smoke signal but don’t “tweet” at each other.  I don’t care about you and your private conversation.

4)  I hate “retweets.”  If I’m following someone, I don’t want to see a string of twenty “retweets” showing me a bunch of stuff from people I don’t care about.  This is especially true for celebrities who are “retweeting” people who beg to be “retweeted.”  SO.  BORING.

5)  I hate a dozen tweets in a row from the same person.  Stop it.

6)  I hate advertising, especially “promoted posts.”

7)  Donald Trump.  Why am I following him?

*

So why do I still have Twitter?  Because occasionally I want to see what everyone else is doing, like tonight when Ellen DeGeneres Tweeted this from the Oscars:

If only Bradley’s arm was longer. Best photo ever. #oscars pic.twitter.com/C9U5NOtGap

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7:06 PM – 2 Mar 2014

The birthday boy turns 16

Sixteen years ago tonight, I was living in northern Michigan and I was over nine months pregnant.  Our twins were almost five years old.  My baby had been due on February 17th and there it was, February 25th.  I’d woken up in labor before dawn and spent the whole day breathing through contractions and trying to rest.  (I was really too excited to rest, though.)

The next day, February 26, my house would be full of midwives, their children and babies and helpful church ladies who were taking care of my children (who were almost five years old).

When my labor would stall, midwives would take me for a ride in a full-sized van that belonged to the midwife who was not Amish.  I’d wear my flannel purple nightgown covered by a coat and slippers.  The midwives had no pitocin, of course.  Instead, they’d plan to drive down bumpy country roads to kick-start my labor.

I think getting pulled over by the sheriff is what did the trick.  I was panicked, thinking I’d be ticketing for laboring in a van without a seatbelt.  It turned out the midwife driving the van knew the sheriff and he’d pulled her over because she was driving too slow on the county highway.  He didn’t seem to think it was weird that the midwife was transporting a panting woman in labor and a tiny Amish woman in a huge white van. (But what do I know, really?  I was focused on breathing in  2- 3- 4-5-6-7-8-9-10 and out 2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10.)

It’s always strange to know exactly what you were doing at a precise moment years earlier.  It’s mind-blowing to imagine the you that you were then seeing the you that you are now, sitting in a house in southern California, musing over how fast time goes and wondering–with a little fear and trepidation–about where you might be in sixteen years.  When I do the calculations and add up the years, I can’t even picture my baby boy as a 32-year old man.

It’s hard enough to believe he’ll be sixteen tomorrow.  He’ll always be my baby boy.

Happy birthday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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